The ruling bloc and three small opposition parties have basically agreed to have Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s national security bills accompanied by a resolution to ensure a greater role for the Diet in approving Self-Defense Forces dispatches abroad, and to vote on them, according to informed sources.
With the accord, reached Tuesday, the three opposition parties, including the Assembly to Energize Japan, will support the bills during a plenary session vote planned for Thursday in the Upper House, the sources said.
The ruling camp of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito agreed with the three parties to expand the scope of SDF dispatches abroad that would require Diet approval through the resolution and a Cabinet decision, rather than amending the bills.
The other two parties are Jisedai no To (Party for Future Generations) and Shinto Kaikaku (New Renaissance Party).
Ahead of the Upper House vote, the chamber’s special committee on the bills held a required public hearing in Tokyo on Tuesday. The bills have already been approved by the Lower House.
The committee decided at a board meeting Tuesday night to have a final question-and-answer session Wednesday afternoon after a public hearing in Yokohama.
The ruling bloc, poised to have the bills enacted before the Diet session ends Sept. 27, intends to obtain approval by the Upper House by Friday.
Because the opposition camp is expected to try to prevent the Upper House from passing the bills through such measures as submitting a no-confidence motion in the Lower House against the Cabinet, the ruling bloc is making preparations for countermeasures, the sources said.
Under the so-called 60-day rule, the Lower House can enact a bill with two-thirds majority support in a second vote if the Upper House fails to vote on it within 60 days of receiving it from the Lower House.
The LDP plans to decide at a executive meeting of the Lower House Steering Committee on Wednesday to hold a plenary session of the chamber on Thursday. LDP Lower House lawmakers were instructed Tuesday to be around the Diet on Thursday and the days that follow.
The ruling bloc is eying a vote on the bills at an Upper House plenary meeting on Thursday after obtaining approval at the committee earlier in the day.
If the opposition camp repeatedly submits a censure motion against each member of the Abe Cabinet, the ruling bloc may aim for the Upper House vote in the small hours Friday. An LDP official said, however, that the Lower House would move to handle the situation, alluding to the second vote, which became possible Monday.
Also, the LDP is considering submitting a motion of confidence in the Cabinet to the Lower House, assuming that the opposition camp will submit a no-confidence motion against each Cabinet member. Because a confidence motion is conventionally handled before any no-confidence motion, its approval would leave no-confidence motions unattended until the end of the Diet session.
The opposition camp’s filibusters would meet cancellation motions from the ruling bloc that limit the length of any speech on an opposition-submitted motion.